Porky’s Pizza Palace, San Leandro CA
We were marooned in San Leandro today, after arriving at a store that had the wrong hours posted online. Making the best of the locale, we furiously searched for a restaurant on our smartphones while parked on the side of the road. The phones told us that Porky’s Pizza Palace was not far from where we were, so we followed the GPS to this very popular family-owned and family-friendly restaurant.
Besides its namesake, Porky’s Pizza Palace is famous for its fried chicken. We got a four-piece dinner, not expecting the pieces of meat would be as big as they were! Moist, tender, and juicy but not so greasy, the chicken was packed with flavor encased by a well seasoned crunchy crust. Zach would put money on the potato wedges being hand-cut, but the cole slaw was surely made in-house. It was crisp and fresh with a somewhat creamy poppy seed and mustard dressing.
A twelve-inch pizza was plenty big for the two of us, and even allowed for leftovers for August’s lunch tomorrow. Two pizzas would have been too much, but we’ll admit it was tempting to think about as we placed our food order at the front counter, watching the pies go in and out of the oven. The pizzas are prepared with a homemade dough recipe, baked with a substantial and chewy crust that was nicely browned. The variety of specialty pies cover enough tastes that there’s no need to build your own, although you’re more than welcome to if you wanted. We went half-and-half with our pizza, half Porky’s Combo and half Grilled Chicken Club Gourmet. We skipped on the bell peppers for Porky’s Combo, but kept the salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, and onions. The rich tomato sauce was boldly herbed and spiced, but it did not overwhelm the delicious freshness of the toppings. Sometimes combo pizzas can be soggy due to the excessive water from the vegetables, but don’t worry, the vegetables are fresh enough here that the pizzas don’t become soggy. The Grilled Chicken Club Gourmet was a good choice to go half-and-half with Porky’s Combo because it had a strikingly different flavor combination. Instead of zesty tomato sauce, this half had a light garlic cream sauce to go with mushrooms, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, and grilled chicken. The tender chicken hunks were big and savory, but the bacon added an extra layer of flavor and chewiness. Be prepared to eat this one with two hands – one to hold a slice, and the other to help pull at the extreme strings of gooey cheese because they don’t skimp on the real California mozzarella.
Meredith helped take our order and she made great recommendations, and standing near her was the owner himself who told us about the celebrations coming up in September. Porky’s Pizza Palace has been a San Leandro landmark for 50 years now, so festivities are being planned for this incredible anniversary. The city should be proud to be home of this restaurant that has been a part of the community for so long.